N47 Meetup #19 in Macedonia

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In the beginning of July we organised our first N47 Meetup in Macedonia. We spent 3 full days together eating, drinking and exploring (especially Lake Ohrid 🏊‍♂️☀️) this lovely country! Besides that, we also had to celebrate our newly built office in the city center of Skopje 🎉🥳 with a nice office warming party!

Too much talent effect: Coordination vs Cooperation and the curious case of Miami Heat

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As a worker of an IT company, I took a moment of thinking and asked myself, why no company, no matter what budget it has, hires only senior employees or in our field only senior developers. This is a question, which I kept asking myself for days and days. But, a couple of weeks ago, I may have found an answer in one book Friends & Foe, when to cooperate, when to compete and how to succeed in both which was written by Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer. They found that too much talent in the company creates a reverse correlation with the efficiency of the team. But, to understand this explanation we need to see an example outside of our working field.

As a big Real Madrid fan, I took a moment of thinking after a disaster season of Real Madrid, I compared the results of 3 different teams of Real Madrid. When the team was an all-star team, they have not achieved trophies in comparison with the value of players the team has e.g. Zidane, Figo, Owen, and Ronaldo.

While the team was a one-star team led by C. Ronaldo, they achieved more trophies. And now without stars, the team achieved a disastrous season.

In 2014, a research was made by 5 researchers, one of them is Adam Galinsky, about association for psychological science with a title too much talent effect. Studying the effect of a number of talented players and team performance and results. 37% of the sample size indicated that the team will perform better when the talented players are more. But, by looking at the results of the team, there is a difference. By looking at the teams result in the World Cup 2014, it was found that there is a positive direct relationship between team results and talents in the team until a certain point. Once this point is reached there is a negative direct relationship between talents and team results. This study was not just on football teams, it is extended to basketball teams, e.g. Miami Heat, they got in 2011 Chris Bosh and Lebron James, and they have already Dwyane Wade, to make a Dream team.

But they lost the final in the same year. In the next year, Wade and Bosh got injured and they won the cup in that year and Lebron James became the superstar inside the team and the study stated that the main reason of this win was the decrease of the talents in the team and this talent isolation was the main reason of the win.

With this study we can conclude that by having no or low talents, the team will lose and by increasing the talents too much, the team will also lose. As by increasing talents, coordination decreases and competition increases. And now let us apply the same case to the companies. You may ask me why by increasing talents, the employees have more cooperation, the answer is included in the book Friends and Foe. The book is based on scarce resources e.g. if you have a chance in working to improve your position, that means that there is no opportunity for other teammates to improve their positions. So by increasing talents, competition increases and coordination decreases. Teammates become opponents.

I hear some people telling me that MSN in Barcelona succeeded in 2015 and in NBA we see all team stars e.g. Warriors in 2018-2017 that include Klay Thompson, Durant and Green. So what we can understand that there are some other reasons that affect team performance. And may cause too much talent not there in all cases. But these reasons, the study did not care about because it is hard to be measured via numbers. So we still have a mystery in how it is gonna affect the performance of the companies.

So, in order to avoid this mystery, our company N47 started not only to hire qualified workers but also to apply internal development and education for them, by sending them to different conferences to different countries. e.g. this year 2019 our colleagues are going to 13 different countries to attend different conferences. This internal development will increase the efficiency of the team along with increasing the cooperation among them via spoiling what the employee has learned in the conference to his colleagues.

In a nutshell: It is not just the personal characteristics which define he can cooperate or compete with his colleagues, it is also his company strategy.

N47 a young company with great potential for developers

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Yes, this is exactly what you think from reading the title, in the next few paragraphs I am going to talk a lot about N47, not because I am an employee there and I have to, but because I am in love with the company I chose.

It all started when I decided that working in a big company doesn’t give me the joy that I want out of my professional life. If you spend 8 hours/day at work, it makes sense to find somewhere where you’ll feel like home, where you can develop & improve yourself professionally and personally ;).

I remember the day that I came to N47 for an interview and the first thing I heard in that interview was,

We are here to help you be the best & achieve your goals.

Fatih Korkmaz

I was like REALLY, that day I knew that this is the one for me. N47 as a company doesn’t search for geniuses, we search for team players because even if you don’t have the best players in the world, you can be the best as a team, and these guys are living proof of that:

What defines a team player?

DEMONSTRATES RELIABILITY

You can count on him/her to get the job done and deliver good performance.

COMMUNICATES CONSTRUCTIVELY

A team player speaks up and expresses his/her thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team.

LISTENS ACTIVELY

Good listeners are essential for teams to function effectively.

SHARES OPENLY AND WILLINGLY

Team players are willing to share information, knowledge, and experience. They take the initiative to keep other team members informed.

EXHIBITS FLEXIBILITY

Good team players roll with the punches; they adapt to ever-changing situations.

Googliness

Now that we know what a team player is, let’s have a look at the company, I always call N47 Mini Google, because we have the Googliness.

Googliness means being focused, and striking a balance between short-term and long-term objectives. Being proactive. Google’s Code of Conduct says “if something is broken, fix it.” But being proactive also means anticipating moves ahead of time so to take action preemptively.

We can all agree that nobody can work for 8 hours straight, everyone needs a pause, for this, we have a lot to offer from space with PlayStation, Nintendo, foosball table, snacks, drinks, small gym…

More we are also open 24/7, you can come here on weekends study, chill on the terrace, grill…

Now that we talked about what defines a team player? how does N47 look like? And what we are searching for? What are you waiting for?

Contact us as fast as possible and get yourself a place in our train to achieve greatness.

Who we are? A recap of our joint venture

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On our website, you can find a lot of information about what we are doing, what our expertise is and how we can help to solve your problems. But we also want to let you look behind the scenes: Therefore, on our culture site, you can have a look what we are currently doing in behind, what we want to achieve and how we want to care about ourselves, our employees, too. And when we play with open cards anyway, maybe it’s interesting to you how it all began and how we came until here. Our vision is to be a company in a glass house. 🏢

So, here we go – this is our story

It started when we were still students 👨🏻‍🎓 at the University of Constance Germany. We started to work on tiny little projects 🤓, doing things like a website for a barbershop or a little online shop. The first projects were just some hundred bucks worth – but we were proud of it 😎! With our first income we started to open our first “office” – ok, it was more like a garage 🚗 or basement. But we started to get entrepreneurs, got some new projects, something bigger and it worked quite well, so we were able to hire our first employee in 2015 and moved into a “real office”, the starting shot for us to grow. Since it was clear to us that we want to have our on place, keep our free work, inspired by the working groups of the university – and give other talents a place to grow with us and also shape the company.

In 2016, we were grown to 6 employees, at this stage, we saw that we could need some support, some manpower but also seeing how difficult it was to find developers, so we started to get our first experience with offshore companies🌏. And, as we took the entrepreneurship in, we thought ok, why not establishing our own company in another country: So, therefore we opened an office in Skopje Macedonia 🇲🇰 with just one employee at first. You can read more about it in our blog post: IT nearshore in Skopje: Turning Fail Story to Success Story.

In 2017 we made it to grow up to 12 people 💪🏻, thanks to the University and Fachhochschule in Constance, where we found some very talented developers helping us to grow. But by becoming a bigger team we also had to deal with different challenges: How to deal with the growing administrative work, financial stuff, management and things like that? How to reach the next level into professionalization and therefore make some decisions: How should we go on with our company in Skopje? Close it or invest in it? How should we handle our opportunities in Switzerland?

Lots of topics, one after another. To focus on our core business, we externalized our finances 💰 and some of the administrational stuff 🗄. Our point here – let’s make professionals take care of that and we focus on what we are professionals in. We also created a internal position for project & business development 📈.

As the topic of nearshore/offshore gets more and more important, we decided to go on more professionally and started to hire a Store Manager in Skopje. We followed up on this on a separate blog post IT nearshore in Skopje: Turning Fail Story to Success Story. but without telling too much, our manager did a great job so far and built up a team of professionals very very quickly.

In September 2018 we also founded our office in Switzerland 🇨🇭. Our goal here was to work for clients in Switzerland, have seniors near the clients, architects or lead developers who can take over the responsibility for conception and realization of projects and also organize and delegate work to Germany 🇩🇪 or Skopje 🇲🇰.

In the 2nd half of 2018 with the fusion to 47 North Labs AG, we got two very experienced guys on board and made a big step to expand our expert know-how and follow our ambitious goals – growing in manpower but also in culture, together as a seamless team, as an IT agency.

How we will do this in 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣, what our goals are and how we want to achieve this will be shown and documented on our culture site. Stay tuned…

To be always up to date you can follow us on twitter, instagram or linkedin… see you there!

Hackdayz #18: SMS Forwarding Android App

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Team members

Youssef Idelhoussain, Senior Front-end Engineer
Shehab Eltobgy, Test Manager

Abstract

This is the real deal.. Prepare your battery, connect to a good network to get thousands of SMS. Whoever you are, maybe you come from a faraway land, maybe you don’t understand my language, maybe you are from a country that I never heard the name of…
One thing is for sure, you will get the SMS. So, whoever you are, wherever you are, our app has special skills which will make this world easier for you, starting with getting an SMS 📲🤩

Having such nice days during our Hackdayz did not prevent us from thinking into adding more practical benefit to our company by improving the current app. And after we had our lunch, we had the power to start working, nevertheless, my vegetarian lunch did not taste good at all.
Our aim was by the end of Hackdayz that the app should be released in PlayStore and the code should be made as open source for further improvements!

Side Notes

The app should have:

  • Rules: number and where it should be posted
  • Environment: Slack, Email, and others…
  • Some new settings: such as the ability for the user to set a password… (we were so optimistic)

Agenda

  • What is the problem you want to solve?
  • Who experiences that problem?
  • How do you want to solve that problem?
  • Why is this a better solution?

Having such a funny combination of a team with a front-end developer and test manager trying to develop an android app included so much fun these days, as we were literally underdogs. But, just to get our spirit up, we went to the gym, and then to the sauna where I could not even see my hands, and finally to the swimming pool.

Working on the project 👨‍💻 at Hackdayz18 in St. Gallen

Although, we were so ambitious that we set our plan to create an app with an infinite number of environments, and with so flexible rules (such as amateur dreams). After some time as Thomas A. Edison stated “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”, we realized that we are not gonna create the app as it actually was planned 🤯. Nevertheless, the days were cool enough to make us laugh while we were failing for several times.

Youssef was really ambitious that he told me “I will never go to bed mad. I’m gonna stay up and fight!”. After 10 minutes, each of us went to his room to sleep 😴. Due to the effort, I spent during 3 hours in the gym, sauna, and swimming, I wanted to sleep because by looking at my hand I couldn’t recognize how many fingers I did have.

The next day, we started working again. I wanted to start now with my real work, since when kings start the party 🎉, my first task was to find a beautiful design. I decided to choose a simple design due to the time pressure. Besides improvisation is too good to leave to chance.

Gitlab Repository

And using the mentioned GitLab we were able to create the app.

https://gitlab.com/47northlabs/public/sms-to-slack

Results

We were somehow not so much satisfied with the results, actually shocked 😱😱😱!!!

  • The app has been developed with the ability to add up to 5 environments. Unlike what we have expected to reach infinite number of environments.. such youth dreams 😅
  • The app could not set the email as one of the environment due to inability to find a library via which the app can send the message to the email while it is in the background…. experience is simply the name we gave our mistakes 😄

Conclusion and implication

The app has been created successfully and applied to one of our android devices using +41 76 75x xxxx.

Screenshot of our Slack and Slackbot channel

Future features and challenges would be…

1. Adding email as a new environment. Let us see how this gonna be manageable 🤔.
2. Adding password for the app. We are still so optimistic 😁.
3. Adding the ability to add more (unlimited environments) with the recycle bin 🧹 to remove them when needed.

By the end of the day, I just was totally shocked f the difference between what has been planned and what actually has been achieved. But, it was just a funny and exhausting experience.

Vegetable growing in the office 🌱🍅

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We have a pretty nice office in Zurich. I’ve just missed from day 1 on some plants. Many different are suitable for the office, but I opted for something that also brings a return.

5th of December 2018

After the installation of the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 in our office, we had mainly a little bit more of illumination 💡😂

There are plenty of different pre-seeded pods available. You could as well seed something by your own. But I’ve decided to start with the following plants because I assumed that they will be a good snack.


3rd of January 2019

After four weeks the plants sprouted and grew steadily bigger. At least the sweet pepper and tomato. Not sure what’s wrong with the wild strawberry 🤔🍓


19th of January 2019

Another 2-3 weeks and the tomato was already in bloom. But afaik we have no bees at Citizen Space in Zurich and I wondered if pollination even works.

Some researches later, I found out that today’s tomatoes do not need cross-pollination but could still need some support:

As tomatoes were moved from their native areas, their traditional pollinators, did not move with them. The trait of self-fertility became an advantage, and domestic cultivars of tomato have been selected to maximize this trait.

This is not the same as self-pollination, despite the common claim that tomatoes do so. That tomatoes pollinate themselves poorly without outside aid is clearly shown in greenhouse situations, where pollination must be aided by artificial wind, vibration of the plants, or more often today, by cultured bumblebees. The anther of a tomato flower is shaped like a hollow tube, with the pollenproduced within the structure, rather than on the surface, as in most species. The pollen moves through pores in the anther, but very little pollen is shed without some kind of externally-induced motion. The ideal vibratory frequencies to release pollen grains are provided by an insect, such as a bumblebee, or the original wild halictid pollinator, capable of engaging in a behavior known as buzz pollination, which honey bees cannot perform. In an outdoors setting, wind or animals usually provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato

I decided to pat a little on the plant and hope for the best ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


29th of January 2019

My expert pollination of the plants seemed to work. There are at least four little green tomatoes 🙂

to be continued…